What Is The Greatest Love Of All? Is It Loving Yourself?

"Girl At Mirror" by Norman Rockwell
"Girl At Mirror" by Norman Rockwell

There is a popular song that is called, "The Greatest Love Of All." The song describes the greatest love as loving yourself. But is loving yourself really the greatest love of all?

We live in a time where self-esteem and self-love is important. People believe that in order to be truly happy, they must love themselves and love their life. Self is something that is very big today.

Webster's Dictionary describes selfishness as "that supreme self-love or self-preference which leads a person to direct his purposes to the advancement of his own interests, power or happiness."You could say that the world today is obsessed with selfishness. For what is selfishness if not love of self and putting self first?

It is said that in order to be honest and fair to others, love of self is important for if you do not love yourself, you will not be able to love another. The words of Jesus, "Love thy neighbor as thyself," can be used as an argument for loving yourself because the same love you would give to yourself is the same love that you should have for your neighbor. But if you love your neighbor as yourself, then you would give all for your neighbor. In the words of Christ ,what I have concluded, is that for me to love my neighbor I must always be thinking what I would like for myself and then doing that for my neighbor. In loving my neighbor, I must die to myself, and those around me need to come first. In loving my neighbor, any love I have for myself must be given to my neighbor instead.




A Ladybird in focus
A Ladybird in focus | Source
Fawley Ford, New Forest, Britain. Ladybirds live here and perhaps there is one in this photo. Alas, the focus is not on it.
Fawley Ford, New Forest, Britain. Ladybirds live here and perhaps there is one in this photo. Alas, the focus is not on it. | Source


In reference to the greatest love, Jesus said :

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13. K.J.V.


When someone lays down his life for his friend, he is being selfless and placing his friend's life before his. He is making his friend important and loving his friend more than he loves himself. In order to die for another, love of self cannot be in the heart for the love of self that is in the heart is taken out and given to another. Love of self cannot dwell in a heart that wants to love its neighbor. It has to change into love of others.

Have you ever turned the lens of a camera so that it focuses on one thing and everything else goes fuzzy in the background? Have you ever noticed this done in movies so that your whole attention is focused on the subject they want you to focus on? This is what it is like when loving yourself. All else fades in the background and the picture of what is going on around you is fuzzy. How can you focus on others and love them if your love is focused on you?



If loving yourself is the greatest love of all, then why, in his second letter to Timothy, Chapter 3, did Paul say:

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." ?

He says that men shall be lovers of themselves in the last days and then he explains what these lovers of themselves will be like. All of the traits named after Paul says that men will love themselves fit perfectly in the profile of what self love can cause. For if you love yourself you will want what you deem what is best for yourself and so you will covet. You will boast because you will find yourself to be great. You will feel proud of the person you are. These things lead to disobedience, blasphemies, lies and despising all that is good. For loving yourself causes you to become your own lord and master with your own rules.


But if you take that love and give it to your neighbor, instead of covetous you will be generous. Instead of boasting in yourself you will praise others and humble yourself. You will be grateful and obedient because you give what you would like to be given to you and yet not expect it back.You will love God for you will have denied yourself your self love and in doing so find the greatest love of all which is the love of God.

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Comments 22 comments

JenMc profile image

JenMc 4 years ago from Norfolk, Virginia

I thought this was a beautiful, peaceful article that you wrote. I also believe that if people would love their neighbor the world would be a better place. There would be no thoughtless killings and other crimes that are prominent these days. Thank you so much for writing this.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 4 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

North Wind: Love of oneself is important. It is truth on e must be able to love oneself, before you can love another for if you only recognize and have loathing or disdain for yourself how can you appreciate the qualities for another, when loathing disdain and hatred is all you know.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

A great hub;I loved it and look forward to reading many more of yours now.

Take care and have awonderful weekend.

Eddy.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

Thank you for presenting such a balanced view of this issue! It is true that we must love ourselves in a way that is not self centered, in order to be able to truly love our neighbor. And that the highest form of love is the sacrificial love that only God can give us!


North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hello JenMc,

Thank you for reading! What you say is true. Loving your neighbor truly is a recipe for peace.


North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hello Dave Matthews,

I fear that you misunderstood my hub. I believe that the love that you have for yourself is sort of like raw material and that it can be and should be refined into love of others. When this love that you have for yourself is refined it becomes a superior product. If it is left as raw material it can cause you harm.

Thank you for your visit. I appreciate it.


North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hello Eiddwen,

I am so very glad you enjoyed it :)

I wish you a wonderful weekend as well.


North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hello wba108@yahoo.com,

It is a hard line to walk on unless you have Him to guide you. His sacrificial love causes us to do the things that we can not do alone. His love and mercy grant us access to knowledge of a greater way to love.

Thank you very much for reading.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Hello North Wind. I like your analysis of the camera lens in describing self-love. Good use of words. Thanks for sharing this topic which is very inspiring.


North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hello teaches12345,

The question of the greatest love of all grabbed a hold of me a few weeks ago and after some time, I thought, why not write about it? I am glad that you enjoyed the topic and liked the analysis.

Take care.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

North Wind Thank you for this hub. This is a very good one. You have taught me that it is ok to love your self, but you need to balance it, so you can share it. When we share it with our neighbors, life for each other becomes better and the more people who do this, the better the earth becomes. I have been praying a lot lately for God to show me the path He wants me to follow. Last week he showed me a place to go to help people and now I am volunteering once a week. I feel in my heart it is the right thing to do. Sorry, getting off topic.

This is a wonderful hub, your hubs do teach me a lot and I am very glad to read your hubs or have you comment on mine, because you do help.

Thanks.


Caleb DRC profile image

Caleb DRC 4 years ago

When I saw this in my e-mail I said, This ought to be good, and it's by North Wind, so by golly it will be accurate also. I was not disappointed! Great job North Wind


North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hi Michelle,

I enjoy reading your hubs as well and I always like to see that you have written something new. I don't mind at all when you go off topic! At least I know that I am not the only person who does that. Ha!

Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I always appreciate hearing from you.


North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

* grins from ear to ear*. Gollllllllyyyyyy, Caleb DRC! Why thank you for your lovely compliment. You made my day :)


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

Another outstanding Hub, North Wind, thank you!!!

"How can you focus on others and love them if your love is focused on you?" - North Wind

I think you are so right and I very much liked your analogy of the focal points of the camera.

I think loving thyself as a spiritual exercise is like drinking wine for health benefits, where a little goes a long way. But, one must be careful not to over-indulge lest good judgment gives way to intoxication.

Best wishes, behave, and be well - C.J. Sledgehammer

Voted up and away!


North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hi C.J. Sledgehammer,

Thank you for your kind and encouraging words! I am smiling from ear to ear(if that is possible):)

I did not think of the wine and how is should be consumed, but yes, I agree, it is very much like that. It seems that there is always more than one thing in the Bible that confirms the truth. The word is always thorough for sure.


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

"Thank you for your kind and encouraging words! I am smiling from ear to ear(if that is possible)" - North Wind

---------

Well, a big smile like that may be possible my friend, but it sounds rather painful and can leave stretch marks to boot. :0)


North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

True - a smile like that may be painful. I'll grin then. Yes, I'll grin :)


lambservant profile image

lambservant 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Great hub and very thought provoking. I really dislike the whole "self-esteem" mindset that has gone on for so many years. But having said that, I think we need to value ourselves we because we are God's handiwork. I love psalm 139 where it talks about God knitting us together in our mother's womb and how we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

If we don't value and respect ourselves in light of knowing we are God's beloved, we will not be able to treat people as Christ calls us to. I think elsewhere in the Bible it says we are not to think more highly of our selves. I don't think that means don't love yourself, I think it means being arrogant, egotistical, conceited and thinking you're more important than others, self centered, not God and other centered.

Because of the whole "self esteem" movement, people have been raised to think they are more special than others. People nowadays have a sense of entitlement. It's all about what they need and want.

I used to struggle really badly with self loathing. I have now come to see God differently, therefore see myself differently. How we think of God is affects how we see ourselves and others.


North Wind profile image

North Wind 3 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Great point lambservant,

I know it is not right to loathe that which God has created. Self-esteem has, however, caused people to think that they are better than others and yes, entitled to favors from all and sundry.

I do think that one should love oneself but I think that that love should then be taken and given away. It is a hard concept but I firmly believe it. The more love you have for yourself is the more you should take it and turn it into love for another.


lambservant 3 years ago

You are right and I think that is what Jesus meant when he said the two greatest commandments are Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strenght and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. God bless you.


lambservant 3 years ago

You are right and I think that is what Jesus meant when he said the two greatest commandments are Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strenght and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. God bless you.

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